Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets launched the new initiative at VMX with the announcement of a monetary donation
A program to help address barriers to pet care experienced by practicing veterinarians has been launched by Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets. Purina’s new Pro Plan Veterinary Support Mission kicked off with a $1 million donation to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF) REACH (Reaching Every Animal with Charitable Healthcare) program.1 Announced at the 2024 Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX) event in Orlando, Florida, the Purina initiative is being highlighted this week through the company’s exhibition booth.
“[Purina is] not just pet food. We’re a pet care company,” said Callie Harris, DVM, senior veterinary communications manager, Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets, in an interview with dvm360. “One of the ways that we care is not just the pets that we’re feeding, but for the pet-loving community and veterinarians.”
Harris noted that with its new initiative, Purina aims to make a meaningful difference by supporting organizations that help alleviate difficulties for veterinarians. The REACH program, for example, provides grants to help veterinarians cover immediate pet care expenses when clients are experiencing financial hardship.1
“Purina’s donation to the AVMF REACH program will deliver a huge boost for our members, for clients who may be experiencing financial hardships, and for the animals in our care,” said Lori Teller, DVM, chair of the AVMF, in an organizational release.1
In an effort to better understanding the veterinarians’ “pain points” that were increasing stress, Harris said, the company turned to the 2022 Merck Animal Health Veterinary Wellbeing Study III. “At the top of the list were the financial barriers that were in place,” she said.
The study’s findings showed that 92% of the nearly 2500 veterinarians and nearly 450 veterinary staff who completed the survey rated stress levels as the top challenge facing the profession, and 88% of respondents expressed that high student debt was a leading concern. Furthermore, the study’s investigators recommended action items that included having veterinary professionals engage with a financial planner to help pay off debt quicker and to avoid carrying credit card balances.2
Financial concerns for the veterinary profession extend to pet owners. The rising cost of living is making it more difficult for clients to manage the cost of veterinary care, which creates an inability for veterinarians to provide care for pets the way they want to, Harris noted.
Harris said veterinary practitioners can apply to the AVMF’s REACH program for grant money that can support the care that an animal needs. Having the financial ability to provide the care that pets need will also benefit veterinarians’ overall mental wellness by boosting job satisfaction.
The AVMF REACH program is the inaugural partner of the Pro Plan Veterinary Support Mission. Harris noted that Purina plans to continue growing the initiative with additional partners. “This is just the start,” she said.